"My daughter is my pride and joy!" How many times have you heard that phrase about someones child, be it daughter or son? We throw it around like confetti at a parade; it's nice, but we long-ago stopped paying attention to what it is we were really saying. Think about it for a second...Pride and Joy.
Last night Morgan had a strings recital at her school. She started playing violin this year. Now from the outside, it probably looked like 30 fifth graders drawing bows roughly across a variety of stringed instruments and producing a sound that vaguely resembles music. To a dad it was the London Philharmonic playing Handel's Messiah. This was their second recital for the school year and the difference was already quite remarkable. They played some basic tunes and then the band director turned to the audience and announced it was time for some solos. He announced the children one at a time and upon hearing their name, each child stood and played a brief tune. I almost jumped from my seat when he announced, about halfway through the solos, "Morgan Daliessio!" Morgan was unruffled, (we found out afterward that the instructor told no one in advance they were soloing) stood poised and played a near perfect "Jingle Bells". I was elated and let out a whoop after snapping pictures of her masterpiece from every possible angle. Alison Krauss couldn't have done any better...in fact maybe I'll ask her in church this Sunday. (Just kidding Alison, your crown is intact for another year or so!)
I was so proud. Probably annoyingly so to the other moms and dads, but I am usually the biggest in the room so it's not a problem. I was also very very happy. Pride and Joy That's what our kids do for us. In that instant I had an epiphany of what the Psalmist meant when he spoke of a man having a "full quiver" of children as being happy. I can't imagine how happy I'd be to have more than one child gracing this world with beauty and musical ability. I'd likely burst.
I am so proud of my daughter. She is like her own sun in a little galaxy. Always smiling, always funny, always inquisitive and always leaving me scratching my head at all that she comprehends and ponders in that 10 year old mind. Her love for God is infectious. Her sense of humor is raucous and contagious. Her compassion is mature beyond her years and her basic goodness of heart leaves me amazed. She fills my soul with wonder. She makes me proud and brings me joy. I think this must have been how God felt, (to an infinitely greater degree of course) when He opened heaven after Jesus came up out of the water upon being baptized by John, and said "This is my beloved son, I am very pleased with him".
Even God found pride and joy in His son.
These holidays are tough for divorced dads, particularly if, like me you have an arrangement that doesn't give you shared time every Christmas. We alternate Christmases because of our families being distant, so this year I won't have my daughter at all on Christmas. When you get lonely and miss your kids, remember the pride and joy they bring. Remember also dads, you are directly responsible for who and what they are, and the kind of pride and joy they are bringing. Enjoy the great memories and laugh to yourself all over again at the wonderful things they have done through the years. And plan some more. They are our pride and joy, those children of ours. Regardless of whatever failings got us to single fatherhood, we are still daddy, and they still make us smile, and make our chest swell just a bit.